Here’s a question for Jerome Armstrong. Who ‘won’ the contests in New Hampshire, Nevada, Missouri, and Texas? We all know the popular wisdom. Clinton won NH, NV, and TX, while Obama won Missouri. Here’s the reality:
- New Hampshire:
Clinton supporters have 101 excuses for why Obama’s tie in New Hampshire and victories in Nevada and Texas are not legitimate. Here’s how Jerome puts it:
Except that, when you listen to the Obama campaign talk about it’s victories lately, I have this inclination to see right through it– that they are not talking about support of the people, but instead having gamed the process. “The Math” as one of their talking point leaders, Jonathan Alter, likes to call it. But, as riverdaughter calls it, “people are just now starting to notice that he gets more delegates by suppressing Clinton voters than by actually, you know, winning.” The latest being that Obama “won” Texas (you know, like Bush “won” Florida).
I don’t want to become an English teacher here (with Jerome that would be sadistic), but Obama’s campaign hasn’t ‘suppressed’ anyone’s votes (as the Clintons attempted to do to students in Iowa, and casino workers and nurses in Las Vegas). What I think riverdaughter means is that the caucus system suppresses votes. That’s true, but it is hardly Obama’s fault. Jerome claims that Obama is ‘gaming the system’, but that is just a petulant way of saying that Obama’s campaign understands the system, while Hillary Clinton’s campaign does (or did) not.
After all, in a contest for delegates, what good does it do to ‘win’ Nevada and lose a delegate? What sense does it make to spend millions to get a 59-48 delegate advantage out of New Jersey only to see Obama spend $50,000 to get a 15-3 advantage out of Idaho?
And what do the Clinton supporters say about such blunders? They say that Idaho will never vote for a Democrat in November, so their New Jersey delegates are more significant than Obama’s Idaho delegates. The retort, of course, is that getting played for a sucker doesn’t make your delegates more valuable. In any case, John McCain is beating Clinton 63%-27% in Idaho so of course the Clintonistas have written off the state. Obama trails by a far more respectable 52%-39% margin. Let’s not forget that we have a senate race in Idaho this year to replace Larry ‘Wide Stance’ Craig. It’d be nice for Larry LaRocco if he didn’t have to overcome a 36-point deficit at the top of the ticket.
…all his supporters now say they won Texas. Why? Because of the undemocratic proportional allocation of caucus delegates, such as an urban areas that voted Obama being worth more delegates than a Latino stronghold for Clinton in another part of the state, because of a previous election. That’s not a Democratic system– its a relic of machine-age politics. And to claim a “win” based on a system like that is not people-powered politics.
First let’s nitpick a little. Why does Jerome think that Vermont and the District of Columbia each have 15 delegates? Does he think it is because of population? Vermont has more people than Washington DC. It’s because the District is overwhelmingly Democratic. Kerry got 18,000 more votes out of DC than he got out of Vermont. So, even though Vermont has roughly 100,000 more people than DC does, DC gets the same amount of delegates. Call it undemocratic if you want, but that is how delegates are allocated, and Texas is no different. I suppose President Hillary Clinton will complain that President Musharraf or President Medvedev aren’t playing by the rules when things don’t go her way.
But, is winning delegates, winning by the rules…is that ‘people-powered politics’? Someone like Jerome Armstrong is, after all, supposed to know what people-powered politics is, right? I mean, he wrote a book about it. Yet, he doesn’t seem to know fuck-all about people-powered politics. Remind me, Jerome, how the Clinton campaign has:
…sidelin[ed] the high-paid consultants who have advised Democrats straight into minority status; evict[ed] the party’s inner circle of the shrill single-issue advocacy groups (like NARAL Pro-Choice America) that demand absolute fealty to their positions, even if it means losing an election; and influx[ed] new ideas (and cash) into the party via the “netroots.”
New ideas like having DLC President Bruce Reed feed her debate groaners like “change we can Xerox“, as if anyone under thirty-five uses the work ‘Xerox’ to mean ‘copy’. Tossing aside the high paid consultants, like giving Mark Penn $20 million to totally fuck up your campaign.
Jerome takes Chris Bowers to task because Bowers doesn’t want the Reagan Democrats back. But then he insists that all Obama’s supporters are Reagan Democrats, or ‘quasi-evangelical/republicans that come out to support him in the red states’. Yet, we hear endlessly about how Hillary Clinton is winning the white, working class, Catholic vote. Just as a reminder, the quintessential Reagan Democrats are the white, Catholic, autoworkers of Macomb County, Michigan.
The classic study of Reagan Democrats is probably the work of the Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg. Greenberg analyzed white ethnic voters (largely unionized auto workers) in Macomb County, Michigan, just north of Detroit. The county voted 63 percent for John F. Kennedy in 1960, but 66 percent for Reagan in 1984. He concluded that “Reagan Democrats” no longer saw Democrats as champions of their middle-class aspirations, but instead saw them as working primarily for the benefit of others: the very poor, the unemployed, African Americans, and other political pressure groups.
It is Hillary Clinton that is thriving off support from Reagan Democrats. Unlike, Bowers, I would like those voters back, but not if it means pandering to their social conservatism. Obama is picking up a different kind of Republican. Maybe they might be more accurately dubbed ‘Goldwater Republicans’…’live free or die’ Republicans…libertarian Republicans. These are Republicans that are looking at Obama because of things like Terri Schiavo and Bush’s massive deficit spending and foreign adventurism.
But, in keeping with Armstrong’s general incoherence he goes on to acknowledge my point.
Obama does have a substantive problem with the “Reagan Democrats” who will not support him, but to make that into Clinton’s crutch, instead of Obama’s unique problem to overcome, is wrong.
But the real flaw in Jerome’s reasoning is the same as it seems to be for all of Clinton’s supporters at this stage of the game. He has no idea how Clinton can overcome ‘The Math’, but he doesn’t let that bother his beautiful mind.
I don’t pretend to know how we get from “the math” to the final outcome, but I do I believe that the contest has made a dramatic turn, and it points in the direction of Clinton winning the nomination.
And, yet, not one word on how Clinton can beat McCain in November once she has convinced the Establishment to overrule the will of the voters as expressed by The Rules under which the delegates were selected.
And this is what passes for analysis.